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1.  New insights into the fungal community from the raw genomic sequence data of fig wasp Ceratosolen solmsi 
BMC Microbiology  2015;15(1):27.
To date, biologists have discovered a large amount of valuable information from assembled genomes, but the abundant microbial data that is hidden in the raw genomic sequence data of plants and animals is usually ignored. In this study, the richness and composition of fungal community were determined in the raw genomic sequence data of Ceratosolen solmsi (RGSD-CS).
To avoid the interference from sequences of C. solmsi, the unmapped raw data (about 17.1%) was obtained by excluding the assembled genome of C. solmsi from RGSD-CS. Comparing two fungal reference datasets, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and large ribosomal subunit (LSU) of rRNA, the ITS dataset discovered a more diverse fungal community and was therefore selected as the reference dataset for evaluating the fungal community based on the unmapped raw data. The threshold of 95% sequence identity revealed many more matched fungal reads and fungal richness in the unmapped raw data than those by identities above 95%. Based on the threshold of 95% sequence identity, the fungal community of RGSD-CS was primarily composed of Saccharomycetes (88.4%) and two other classes (Agaricomycetes and Sordariomycetes, 8.3% in total). Compared with the fungal community of other reported fig wasps, Agaricomycetes and Eurotiomycetes were found to be unique to C. solmsi. In addition, the ratio of total fungal reads to RGSD-CS was estimated to be at least 4.8 × 10−3, which indicated that a large amount of fungal data was contained in RGSD-CS. However, rarefaction measure indicated that a deeper sequencing coverage with RGSD-CS was required to discover the entire fungal community of C. solmsi.
This study investigated the richness and composition of fungal community in RGSD-CS and provided new insights into the efficient study of microbial diversity using raw genomic sequence data.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12866-015-0370-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4329198
Fungal community; Unmapped raw data; Fig wasp; Fungal reference datasets
2.  P21-Activated Kinase 7 Mediates Cisplatin-Resistance of Esophageal Squamous Carcinoma Cells with Aurora-A Overexpression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113989.
Aurora-A overexpression is common in various types of cancers and has been shown to be involved in tumorigenesis through different signaling pathways, yet how the deregulation affects cancer therapeutics remains elusive. Here we showed that overexpression of Aurora-A rendered esophageal cancer cells resistance to cisplatin (CDDP) by inhibiting apoptosis. By using an apoptosis array, we identified a downstream gene, p21-activated kinase 7 (PAK7). PAK7 was upregulated by Aurora-A overexpression at both mRNA and protein levels. Importantly, the expression levels of Aurora-A and PAK7 were correlated in ESCC primary samples. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay revealed that binding of E2F1 to the promoter of PAK7 was significantly enhanced upon Aurora-A activation, and knockdown of transcription factor E2F1 decreased PAK7 expression, suggesting that Aurora-A regulated PAK7 through E2F1. Furthermore, we demonstrated that PAK7 knockdown led to increased apoptosis, and Aurora-A-induced resistance to CDDP was reversed by downregulation of PAK7, suggesting PAK7 was a downstream player of Aurora-A that mediated chemoresistance of ESCC cells to CDDP. Our data suggest that PAK7 may serve as an attractive candidate for therapeutics in ESCC patients with Aurora-A abnormality.
PMCID: PMC4250179  PMID: 25436453
3.  Diagnosis and staging of superficial esophageal precursor based on pre-endoscopic resection system comparable to endoscopic resection 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):774.
Endoscopic treatments for early esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and the esophageal neoplasm are two types: endoscopic resection (ER) and ablation. Resection enables evaluation of the lesion in the ER specimens, while ablation cannot. We sought to establish a pre-ER evaluated system with a diagnostic and staging accuracy similar to ER for the development of ablation therapy.
In our study, we collected data pertaining to early esophageal cancer and esophageal neoplasm treated with ER, analyzed the pre- and post-ER data of the lesions and evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of pre-ER system compared with the gold standard.
The diagnostic accuracy rate was 91% based on the pre-ER system compared with the gold standard, and 93% based on the ER diagnosis. The AUC of the pre-ER system was 0.964, while the ER examination was 0.971.
These results suggest that the accuracy of pre-ER system was comparable to ER. The pre-ER system enables prediction of histological diagnosis and stage of the lesions, and the choice of treatment for superficial esophageal neoplasm.
PMCID: PMC4213488  PMID: 25330811
Endoscopic resection (ER); Endoscopic treatment; Superficial esophageal neoplasm; Histological diagnosis
4.  CS1-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-Engineered Natural Killer Cells Enhance In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-tumor Activity Against Human Multiple Myeloma 
Leukemia  2013;28(4):917-927.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable hematological malignancy. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T cells have been demonstrated successful in the clinic to treat B-lymphoid malignancies. However, the potential utility of antigen-specific CAR-engineered natural killer (NK) cells to treat MM has not been explored. In this study, we determined whether CS1, a surface protein that is highly expressed on MM cells, can be targeted by CAR NK cells to treat MM. We successfully generated a viral construct of a CS1-specific CAR and expressed it in human NK cells. In vitro, CS1-CAR NK cells displayed enhanced MM cytolysis and IFN-γ production, and showed a specific CS1-dependent recognition of MM cells. Ex vivo, CS1-CAR NK cells also showed similarly enhanced activities when responding to primary MM tumor cells. More importantly, in an aggressive orthotopic MM xenograft mouse model, adoptive transfer of NK-92 cells expressing CS1-CAR efficiently suppressed the growth of human IM9 MM cells and also significantly prolonged mouse survival. Thus, CS1 represents a viable target for CAR-expressing immune cells, and autologous or allogeneic transplantation of CS1-specific CAR NK cells may be a promising strategy to treat MM.
PMCID: PMC3967004  PMID: 24067492
CS1; Chimeric Antigen Receptor; NK Cells; Multiple Myeloma
5.  Obligate mutualism within a host drives the extreme specialization of a fig wasp genome 
Genome Biology  2013;14(12):R141.
Fig pollinating wasps form obligate symbioses with their fig hosts. This mutualism arose approximately 75 million years ago. Unlike many other intimate symbioses, which involve vertical transmission of symbionts to host offspring, female fig wasps fly great distances to transfer horizontally between hosts. In contrast, male wasps are wingless and cannot disperse. Symbionts that keep intimate contact with their hosts often show genome reduction, but it is not clear if the wide dispersal of female fig wasps will counteract this general tendency. We sequenced the genome of the fig wasp Ceratosolen solmsi to address this question.
The genome size of the fig wasp C. solmsi is typical of insects, but has undergone dramatic reductions of gene families involved in environmental sensing and detoxification. The streamlined chemosensory ability reflects the overwhelming importance of females finding trees of their only host species, Ficus hispida, during their fleeting adult lives. Despite long-distance dispersal, little need exists for detoxification or environmental protection because fig wasps spend nearly all of their lives inside a largely benign host. Analyses of transcriptomes in females and males at four key life stages reveal that the extreme anatomical sexual dimorphism of fig wasps may result from a strong bias in sex-differential gene expression.
Our comparison of the C. solmsi genome with other insects provides new insights into the evolution of obligate mutualism. The draft genome of the fig wasp, and transcriptomic comparisons between both sexes at four different life stages, provide insights into the molecular basis for the extreme anatomical sexual dimorphism of this species.
PMCID: PMC4053974  PMID: 24359812
6.  NK cells impede glioblastoma virotherapy via NKp30 and NKp46 natural cytotoxicity receptors 
Nature medicine  2012;18(12):1827-1834.
The role of the immune response to oncolytic Herpes Simplex viral (oHSV) therapy for glioblastoma is controversial. Within hours of oHSV infection of human or syngeneic glioblastoma in mice, activated natural killer (NK) cells are recruited to the site of infection. This response significantly diminished the efficacy of glioblastoma virotherapy. oHSV-activated NK cells coordinated macrophage and microglia activation within tumors. In vitro, human NK cells preferentially lysed oHSV-infected human glioblastoma cell lines. This enhanced killing depended on NK cell natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR) NKp30 and NKp46, whose ligands were up-regulated in oHSV-infected glioblastoma cells. HSV titers and oHSV efficacy were increased in Ncr1−/− mice and in a Ncr1−/− NK cell adoptive transfer model of glioma, respectively. These in vitro and in vivo (mouse) results demonstrate that glioblastoma virotherapy is partly limited by an antiviral NK cell response involving specific NCRs, uncovering novel potential targets to enhance cancer virotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3668784  PMID: 23178246
Herpes simplex virus; gene therapy; oncolytic virus; brain tumor; microglia; macrophages
7.  Curcumin Down-Regulates DNA Methyltransferase 1 and Plays an Anti-Leukemic Role in Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55934.
Bioactive components from dietary supplements such as curcumin may represent attractive agents for cancer prevention or treatment. DNA methylation plays a critical role in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) development, and presents an excellent target for treatment of this disease. However, it remains largely unknown how curcumin, a component of the popular Indian spice turmeric, plays a role in DNA hypomethylation to reactivate silenced tumor suppressor genes and to present a potential treatment option for AML. Here we show that curcumin down-regulates DNMT1 expression in AML cell lines, both in vitro and in vivo, and in primary AML cells ex vivo. Mechanistically, curcumin reduced the expression of positive regulators of DNMT1, p65 and Sp1, which correlated with a reduction in binding of these transcription factors to the DNMT1 promoter in AML cell lines. This curcumin-mediated down-regulation of DNMT1 expression was concomitant with p15INK4B tumor suppressor gene reactivation, hypomethylation of the p15INK4B promoter, G1 cell cycle arrest, and induction of tumor cell apoptosis in vitro. In mice implanted with the human AML MV4–11 cell line, administration of curcumin resulted in remarkable suppression of AML tumor growth. Collectively, our data indicate that curcumin shows promise as a potential treatment for AML, and our findings provide a basis for future studies to test the clinical efficacy of curcumin – whether used as a single agent or as an adjuvant – for AML treatment.
PMCID: PMC3572185  PMID: 23457487
8.  Outcomes from a prospective trial of endoscopic radiofrequency ablation of early squamous cell neoplasia of the esophagus 
Gastrointestinal endoscopy  2011;74(6):1181-1190.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is safe and effective for eradicating neoplasia in Barrett’s esophagus.
Evaluate RFA for eradicating early esophageal squamous cell neoplasia (ESCN) defined as moderate- and high-grade squamous intraepithelial neoplasia (MGIN, HGIN) and early flat-type esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Prospective cohort study.
Tertiary referral center.
Esophageal unstained lesions (USLs) were identified using Lugol’s chromoendoscopy. Inclusion: at least 1 flat (type 0-IIb) USL ≥3cm, USL-bearing esophagus ≤12 cm, and a consensus diagnosis of MGIN, HGIN, or ESCC by two expert GI pathologists. Exclusion: prior endoscopic resection or ablation, stricture, or any non-flat mucosa.
Circumferential RFA creating a continuous treatment area (TA) including all USLs. At 3-month intervals thereafter, chromoendoscopy with biopsies, followed by focal RFA of USLs, if present.
Main outcome measures
Complete response (CR) at 12 months, defined as absence of MGIN, HGIN or ESCC in TA; CR after one RFA session; neoplastic progression from baseline; and adverse events.
29 patients (14 male, mean age 60.3 years) with MGIN (18), HGIN (10), or ESCC (1) participated. Mean USL length was 6.2 cm (TA 8.2 cm). At 3-months, after one RFA session, 86% of patients (25/29) were CR. At 12-months, 97% (28/29) of patients were CR. There was no neoplastic progression. There were 4 strictures, all dilated to resolution.
Single center study with limited number of patients.
In patients with early ESCN (MGIN, HGIN, flat-type ESCC), RFA was associated with a high rate of histological complete response (97% of patients), no neoplastic progression, and an acceptable adverse event profile.
PMCID: PMC3505032  PMID: 21839994
9.  Suppression of Aurora-A oncogenic potential by c-Myc downregulation 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2010;42(11):759-767.
The abnormality of serine/threonine kinase Aurora-A is seen in many types of cancers. Although in physiological context it has been shown to play a vital role in cellular mitosis, how this oncogene contributes to tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that Aurora-A overexpression enhances both the expression level and transcriptional activity of c-Myc. The inhibition of c-Myc expression by RNA interference significantly impaired the oncogenic potential of Aurora-A, resulting in attenuated cellular proliferation and transformation rates as well as fewer centrosomal aberrations. Furthermore, downregulation of c-Myc effectively overcame Aurora-A-induced resistance to cisplatin in esophageal cancer cells. Taken together, our results suggest an important role for c-Myc in mediating the oncogenic activity of Aurora-A, which may in turn allow for future targeting of c-Myc as a potential therapeutic strategy for tumors with Aurora-A overexpression.
PMCID: PMC2992855  PMID: 20890087
aurora kinase; neoplasms; proto-oncogene proteins c-myc; RNA interference
11.  Evidence of human papilloma virus infection and its epidemiology in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
AIM: To look for the evidence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCC) and to investigate the potential role and epidemiology of HPV infection in the pathogenesis of esophageal carcinomas in Henan emigrants.
METHODS: Papilloma virus(PV)and HPV were determined by UltrasensiveTM S-P immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH) in esophageal carcinoma tissues (82 cases) and the normal mucosa (40 cases).
RESULTS: IHC revealed that the positive rate of PV was 75.0%, 68.18% and 72.5% respectively while the HPV (16/18-E6) positive rate was 45.0%, 36.36%, 37.5%, respectively in esophageal carcinoma tissue specimens from Henan emigrants,the local citizens and patients in Hubei Cancer Hospital. The PV and HPV (16/18-E6) were negative in all normal esophageal mucosa specimens. No correlation was found between HPV in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma tissues and in grade 1-3 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells. In situ hybridization showed that the HPV (16/18) DNA positive rate was 30.0%, 31.8%, 25.0%, respectively in the 3 groups of samples. No positive hybridization signal was found in 40 normal esophageal mucosa specimens. The positive rate of HPV (16/18) DNA in the esophageal carcinoma specimens was significantly higher than that in normal mucosa specimens (P < 0.05). The positive rate was not different among the 3 groups of esophageal carcinoma tissue specimens (P >0.05).
CONCLUSION: HPV infection is high in esophageal carcinoma of Henan emigrants, local residents and patients in Hubei Cancer Hospital. HPV is closely related with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. HPV infection may play an important role in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4124309  PMID: 16552800
Human papillomavirus; Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization

Results 1-11 (11)